JADAKISS – 20 years and still standing
Jadakiss, real name Jason Jerome Phillips, was born in 1975, in a small town called Yonkers, New York. At the age of twelve, he began to participate in freestyle competitions around the city. Even though young Jason wasn’t treating these contests seriously, a number of people, tied to the industry, noted that he showed a lot of promise.
In 1994, Jadakiss, together with his best friends Sheek Louch and Styles P, organized a group called The Warlox. They made their first appearance on The Main Source’s track “Set it Off”. The trio landed a contract with Bad Boy Entertainment, where they were advised to change their name to the LOX (Living Off eXperience).
Thanks to their talent, the crew caught the attention of Notorious B.I.G who expressed special interest in Jadakiss and helped him to develop himself as an artist, as he was impressed with Jason’s wordplay ability. B.I.G even offered him to record a couple of songs for Cease’s new album, yet tragically, with his death, those plans never came into reality.
As a tribute to the influence Notorious B.I.G had on them and on the world of Hip Hop as a whole, The LOX recorded their multi platinum track “We’ll always love Big Poppa”, which is probably their most famous single to date.
Their first album was released under the Bad Boy Records and was titled “Money, Power, Respect”. Despite the album’s success, the LOX were unhappy with the general feel that Puffy’s production had, as they felt that he was too oriented at the mainstream audience, so they left the company. Yet even though they left Bad Boy Records, the group’s publishing contracts were still owned by P. Diddy, as they continued to fight over royalties and debts all the way to 2005.
Afterward, Jadakiss signed with Ruff Ryders and released his debut solo album, “Kiss the Game Goodbye” (2001). Despite the fact that the album featured collaborations with Snoop Dogg and Swizz Beatz, it was torn apart by critics claiming that most songs felt unoriginal and uninspired. Jadakiss accepted the criticism, blaming Puffy’s approach as the reason.
2003 marked the foundation of the D-Block Records, created by the LOX members (Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch) and joined by Supa Mario, Team Arliss and J-Hood. The label is still active to this day and has contributed to the success of all the members. It also had a lot of collaborations with Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, which Jadakiss joined later in his career.
His second album, “Kiss of Death” was released in 2004. During its production, Jadakiss listened to the fans stating that he hadn’t shown enough individuality in his lyrics. As an answer to those messages, he recorded the single “Why”, where the artist touched upon subjects that bothered him the most (which resulted in a huge scandal with the media, as in one of the lines Jadakiss blamed Bush for 9\11).
Another single which proved to be successful was a love song that resulted from his pairing with Mariah Carey – “You Make Me Wanna”. As a result, the album reached platinum status proving that Jadakiss had what it took to achieve acclaim as a solo artist.
In 2007, Jadakiss was finally able to join Roc-A-Fella and there he released his third album “The Last Kiss” (2009), under the label Def Jam. Despite a few weak spots, the album, in general, is probably the strongest in the artist’s career. Singles like “Can’t Stop Me” and “Letter to B.I.G” (included in the soundtrack of the “Notorious” movie) were both written and delivered in a fantastic fashion. His last album to date was released in 2015 and is titled “Top 5 Dead or Alive”.
With almost twenty years of rapping under his belt, Jadakiss cemented his place at the top-tier of the Hip Hop industry. He proved that he is a great MC that can produce top-quality, diverse in content albums, while still remaining himself.